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Google fined 250 million euros in France for non-compliance with neighboring rights

Fair remuneration for press content is at the heart of the news in France, as Google is hit with a record fine of 250 million euros by the Competition Authority. The American firm is accused of not having respected its commitments made in 2022 concerning fair negotiation with French press publishers for the remuneration of neighboring rights. This decision marks an important step in the conflict between digital platforms and press publishers, highlighting the issues linked to the use of protected content.

A historic sanction for Google

The French Competition Authority has decided to sanction Google for its failure to fulfill its negotiating commitments with French press publishers. This fine of 250 million euros follows a long legal battle that began in 2019, when publishers began to demand financial compensation for the use of their content by the American firm. Despite Google’s efforts to reach licensing agreements, the Competition Authority’s decision highlights the company’s failure to respect the commitments made.

Neighboring rights at the heart of the conflict

Neighboring rights, established by a European directive, aim to guarantee fair remuneration to press publishers for the use of their content by digital platforms. In France, Google has long contested this idea, arguing that the traffic generated to information sites was sufficient as a form of remuneration. However, pressure from the Competition Authority pushed Google to commit to negotiating with publishers, a commitment which is now being called into question. In addition to breaches of negotiation commitments, Google is also criticized for using press content in training its artificial intelligence, without the agreement of publishers.

Google’s response to the fine

Faced with this fine, Google defends its position by highlighting its efforts to reach licensing agreements with French press publishers. The firm highlights its collaboration with numerous publishers and the amount of sums paid each year. Despite these arguments, Google contests the amount of the fine and expresses its desire to continue discussions to find a solution satisfactory for all parties. This new fine raises questions about the future of relations between digital giants and press publishers, and casts doubt on the evolution of remuneration practices for online content.

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